A shopper comes to your site and quickly clicks away. Not only did you lose a potential sale, you’re left wondering what made them leave.
There’s a website metric that measures this effect and it’s called the bounce rate. It provides important insights into user interest and engagement, helping you identify how often your web visitors bounce and how to encourage them to stick around.
Learn more about bounce rate, why it’s important, and how it can determine performance and user experience.
Table of Contents
What is a bounce rate?
Bounce rate measures the percentage of website visitors who quickly exit without exploring other pages or following calls to action (CTAs) like purchasing products or signing up for emails. Bounce rate captures how often visitors bounce away from the site after a single page view.
When a site’s average bounce rate is high, it indicates there may be technical problems with the site, or site content may not be engaging enough for a visitor to explore further. It’s an excellent metric to help understand the user experience on specific pages and your website as a whole.
How does bounce rate affect website performance?
Since bounce rate is a measurement of user engagement, it can point to how well a website’s content is performing. Your site’s bounce rate can affect other metrics, such as:
Search engine rankings
Search engines note the bounce rate of a webpage to determine whether the content provided is relevant enough to boost its ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs). High bounce rates may tell a search engine like Google that your content isn’t engaging viewers. Instead of having a high SEO ranking where your webpage is at the top of SERPs, Google will showcase sites with lower bounce rates.
High bounce rates directly correlate to lower sales because first-time visitors aren’t sticking around long enough to become customers. They’re less likely to purchase from a site they aren’t exploring or feeling compelled to engage with.
As with sales, high bounce rates tend to hurt web conversions such as email or subscription sign-ups.
What is a good bounce rate?
What’s considered a good or bad bounce rate depends on your industry and specific goals. However, there are some industry-specific average ranges you can use as benchmarks:
Content-driven websites like blogs and news sites tend to have a bounce rate of 30% to 60%. These sites are meant to provide specific information to a user and may not necessarily have further engagement as a goal.
Business-to-business websites that provide a mix of information and CTAs—like quote request forms, for example—tend to have a bounce rate between 25% and 55%.
Ecommerce websites typically have a 20% to 40% bounce rate because they aim to have users make purchases and explore more product pages across the site.
Landing page bounce rates tend to be high by design––as high as 90%––because they are usually made for a specific campaign or event. As single-page sites, visitors are meant to hit the landing page, get the information they need, and bounce without exploring more.
What causes a high bounce rate?
Monitoring bounce rates can provide insights into engagement and performance. Common sources of high bounce rates include:
- Technical errors. Problems such as broken links and 404 pages can prompt a new user to leave.
- Irrelevant content. If a page doesn’t match a user’s search inquiry or lacks important information, they’ll likely click out immediately.
- Lack of mobile optimization. Users often visit webpages from their phones, and a lack of mobile-friendly navigation features and design can turn away mobile visitors.
- Lack of clear CTAs. A visitor should be prompted to explore more of the site through internal links and regular CTAs to other informational pages, products, or features.
How to measure your bounce rate
Bounce rate is part of search engine optimization (SEO) practices and is measured with web analytics programs like Google Analytics. These programs provide an overview of a website’s bounce rate and other valuable insights, like total page views, web traffic, average time spent on individual pages and total clicks.
Apply your chosen web analytics program to your website to access detailed bounce rate information unique to your site. Monitoring the number of single-page visits a webpage receives can help you determine which steps you need to take to lower your bounce rate.
What is the difference between bounce rate and exit rate?
Both bounce rate and exit rate are important in assessing a website’s engagement and performance, but they’re different metrics.
Use bounce rate to assess a visitor’s first impression of a site because it’s specific to the first page they view. It measures the users who land on a page and immediately leave without interacting with it further, also known as a single-page session.
The exit rate looks at the complete session of a visitor’s journey and is used to identify which pages cause the most visitors to leave a website, regardless of whether it’s a user’s first time on a page or if they looked at multiple pages in one sitting. It determines which pages visitors tend to exit from, overall.
How to reduce bounce rate
If your website is experiencing a higher bounce rate than your category’s average, consider the following actions to help reduce your bounce rate:
1. Improve readability
To improve readability and increase the time a user spends on a site, try using a uniform font across the entire site and simple formatting. For example, avoid gray text on a white background or dark colors against dark backgrounds. It’s also good practice to keep a lot of white space open around the text. Ensure your site is readable for everyone by meeting web accessibility guidelines. Include elements like alt text on images, a high contrast color palette, and close captioning on video content.
2. Provide engaging, relevant content
Many websites display related articles or products at the bottom of a page to entice visitors to go beyond single-page sessions. Provide high-quality content that’s well researched, informative, and constructive to visitors. Content should be relevant across pages, including the home page, to encourage second-page visits and beyond.
3. Use internal linking
Providing relevant links to other content on a specific page can encourage new users to explore and move around the site. For example, if you have a blog post on your ecommerce website about the best bathing suits for every astrological sign, link to those product pages so visitors can purchase them easily.
4. Craft clear, compelling headlines
Headlines are meant to grab attention and keep users reading and engaging with content and additional pages. Headlines can also help in both organic search and search rankings if they’re relevant and lead to engaging content. Keep your headlines short, clear, and accurate so visitors will click on them and engage with the webpages.
5. Implement A/B testing
A/B testing is the practice of comparing two versions of the same piece of content to understand how variations in copy, layout, and creative assets affect performance. Test variations of your site when it comes to photos, headlines, pop-up ads, and CTAs to see what resonates with your audience the most. Each of these elements contributes to your bounce rate and SERP ranking, but it might take some experimenting to find what resonates with your target audience.
Not all strategies work for all websites. It can be helpful to try various methods to determine which ones suit your needs.
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Bounce rate FAQ
What does a zero bounce rate mean?
When a website has a zero percent bounce rate, it means every visitor who went to the site interacted with multiple pages or various elements on it. This percentage is extremely rare and not often achievable, since even some of the most engaging websites will inevitably have users who will visit one page and leave.
Does bounce rate affect conversion rates?
Yes, bounce rates can affect conversion rates and the two are interconnected in various ways. If a website’s bounce rate is high, it’s likely not engaging its visitors enough for them to then purchase products, sign up for email newsletters, or click to other parts of the site.
Is bounce rate the only metric to consider when evaluating website performance?
Bounce rate is only one metric among many you can use to evaluate your website’s performance. You can look at multiple metrics—like conversion rate, pages per session, email signups, and organic traffic—to get a holistic sense of interest and engagement.
Is bounce rate the sole indicator of user satisfaction?
While bounce rate provides some insight into a site’s first impression on a user, it’s not the sole indicator of user satisfaction. Website owners use many tools and analytics to determine user satisfaction, including how many return visits a user makes and engagement with CTAs like internal links and email sign-up fields.